The Knoxville area once known as the Bowery included hundreds of little shops: secondhand stores run by immigrants, some early African American barber shops and movie theaters, some of the city’s first Chinese laundries, some of the city’s last livery stables and blacksmiths, and drugstores that sold things that mainstream drugstores wouldn’t. It was also the epicenter of an underground economy, the herb men. To most people, one such herb man, known as Doc Mullins, was a complete mystery. His death certificate listed him, rather matter-of-factly, as a “Herb Doctor.” But by reputation, he was known as a conjurer. Thanks to curious News-Sentinel columnist Bert Vincent we can know some of Doc’s strange story.
Written by Jack Neely and read by Josh Brandon. Sound design and editing by Pete Carty. Theme song composed by Mike Stallings.
This episode is funded in part by federal award number 21.027 awarded to the City of Knoxville by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Arts & Culture Alliance.
Knoxville Chronicles is brought to you by the nonprofit Knoxville History Project.
Learn more at KnoxvilleHistoryProject.org